Jayson Blair’s name carries with it a chilling cautionary tale of a young journalist’s rise to success, while also recalling the story that tarnished the longstanding reputation of the New York Times.
But while a new off-Broadway play, “CQ/CX,” glimpses one of the newspaper industry’s biggest scandals, the disgraced reporter is giving life advice in Virginia at a less-than-affordable $130 an hour.
“I seek to be authentic and engaging, using my own experiences, being as vulnerable as I ask my clients to be, to enhance the process,” his website states.
Blair is most remembered for fabricating and plagiarizing a number of articles at the Times in 2002 and 2003. He resigned shortly after his deceit was discovered, and the fallout resulted in the paper running a 7,000-word front-page article that detailed Blair’s fraud.
He began working as a life coach in 2007. After his new career took off, Blair told the AP in 2009, “People say, ‘Wait a minute. You’re a life coach? That makes no sense. Then they think about my life experiences and what I’ve been through and they say ‘Wait a minute. It does make sense.”
For clients who are unfamiliar with Blair’s transgressions as a young reporter, “CQ/CX” portrays the scandal through the eyes of an insider. Gabe McKinley, a former Times journalist who worked with Blair, changes the names of the newsroom players, but nonetheless dramatizes an accurate account of the case, according to the Times.
“CQ” is shorthand for a question about a fact and “CX” is used for corrections in a file that had a problem, according to McKinley. “One is something that is a check of good information, and one is a check for bad information,” he told the Atlantic Theater Company, who is producing the show. “Those are the two ways you identify and tell a story, and I think we do that in this play.”